Set expressions in English


When teaching grammar, we have repeatedly said that it is more productive to memorize words not separately, but as part of stable phrases . This way of learning saves a lot of time and effort.

For example, which option to choose - do noise or make noise ? According to the logic of using do and make , it would be better to say do noise, but the correct thing is make noise . So the logic doesn't always work.

Or another example: many people translate “say a compliment” as “ pay a compliment ”. However, a more accurate and beautiful option is pay a compliment , although an ignorant person is unlikely to guess that in this case pay is more appropriate than say .

Where logic does not work, the law of automatism comes to the rescue - you need to memorize phrases so that they “fly out” at the right time in the right phrase so that you do not have to come up with these phrases yourself.

English set expressions with verbs

So, the main stable combinations are known with the following verbs:
have, do, make, take, break, catch, pay, save, keep, come, go, get.

Table. Set expressions in English




have a bath/ a shower

have drink/ a coffee/ a tea

have a good time

have a haircut

have a rest/ a break

have sympathy

have lunch/ breakfast/ dinner

have a swim/ a talk

do business

do nothing

do a favour

do the homework

do the housework

do your hair

do your best

do the shopping/ the washing up

make a difference

make a mess

make a mistake

make a noise

make an effort

make money

make progress

make room

make trouble




take a break

take a chance

take a look

take a rest

take a seat

take a taxi

take an exam

take notes

take someone’s place

take a temperature

break a habit

break a promise

break a record

break the law

break the news

break the rules

catch a bus

catch a chill

catch a cold

catch the flu

catch fire

catch sight of

catch someone’s eye

catch someone’s attention




pay attention

pay by credit card

pay cash

pay a compliment

pay a visit

pay your respects

save energy

save money

save a seat

save to a disk

save space

save time

keep a diary

keep a promise

keep a secret

keep calm

keep control

keep in touch

keep quiet

keep the change




come into view

come late

come on time

come right back

come to a compromise

come to a decision

come to an agreement

come to an end

come to a standstill

come to terms with

go abroad

go astray

go bankrupt

go dark

go fishing/ skiing/ kayaking

go missing

go on foot

go online

go out of business

go overseas

get divorced

get drunk

get frightened

get home

get lost

get married

get nowhere

get permission

get pregnant

get ready

get started

get the impression

get the message

get the sack

Despite the "volume" of this list, you can simplify the task of remembering these collocations.

First, go in motion expressions can be changed to come.

Secondly, get , as we already know, is a state change verb. Therefore, whatever adjective is added to it, the whole expression will take on the meaning of "becoming something." Instead of get in such expressions, you can put become, turn, go .

Therefore, if the lexical base allows you, play with the values, substitute and replace. But make sure that you are understood at the same time!

Expressions with Take

  1. Take (smb) to court
  2. Take (smb's) temperature
  3. Take a bite
  4. Take a bow
  5. Take a break
  6. Take a call
  7. Take a chance
  8. Take a class
  9. Take/make a decision
  10. Take a holiday
  11. Take a lesson
  12. Take a look
  13. Take a message
  14. Take a nap
  15. Take a number
  16. Take a picture
  17. Take a rest
  18. Take a risk
  19. Take a seat
  20. Take/have a shower
  21. Take a step
  22. Take a test
  23. Take a while/a minute
  24. Take a photo/photograph
  25. Take a taxi/bus/train/plane
  26. Take action
  27. Take advantage (of)
  28. Take advice
  29. Take ages
  30. Take an exam/a test/a course
  31. Take care of
  32. Take charge (of)
  33. Take drugs
  34. Take exercise
  35. Take medicine
  36. Take notes
  37. Take notice
  38. Take part
  39. Take place
  40. Take pride in
  41. Take somebody's place
  42. Take someone's temperature
  43. Take time
  44. Take turns
  45. Take up space
  46. Take your time

List of collocations with Keep

  1. Keep in touch
  2. Keep track of
  3. Keep tabs on
  4. Keep in mind
  5. Keep smth to yourself
  6. Keep someone
  7. Keep someone's place
  8. Keep someone posted
  9. Keep it up
  10. Keep it down
  11. Keep up
  12. Keep your job
  13. Keep safe
  14. Keep someone company
  15. Keep smth on the down low
  16. Keep a secret
  17. Keep a promise
  18. Keep a diary
  19. Keep a journal
  20. Keep the change
  21. Keep score
  22. Keep your balance
  23. Keep someone in check
  24. Keep an appointment
  25. Keep away
  26. Keep pace
  27. Keep calm
  28. Keep the quite
  29. Keep records
  30. Keep animals
  31. Keep up the good work